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November 03, 2010

Last Night- The Senate, Yeah It Was About Obama

The historic GOP pickups in the House are getting the most attention (and rightfully so) but I wanted to say a few things about the Senate races.

Late last night Chuck Todd of NBC asked this on Twitter.

Was this election a referendum on Pelosi or Obama? if it was about Obama, wouldn't GOP be winning more SEN seats? Pelosi was issue in House

I'd argue the Senate results in total tell us nothing about Obama but if you look closer, they tell us a lot about his standing at the moment.

First, 2010 was always going to be tough for Republicans in the Senate. There were simply more Republican held seats to defend. It evened out a bit thanks to retirements, a death and Obama appointments but even then, they were in mostly safe Democratic seats.

Republicans didn't pick up as many seats as they would have liked and certainly didn't get the majority but look at some of the seats they did pick up...Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arkansas...those are swing states in presidential years. Illinois is a sold blue state but given that's Obama's old seat and that he campaigned for the Democrat, that's a pretty harsh rebuke to him. Only the North Dakota flip to Republicans was a solid red state in a presidential year coming home.

Also, look at the open seats that Republicans held on to....Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Missouri. Those are important states in presidential elections. At one point in the cycle Democrats had high hopes of winning some or even most of them. Team Obama can not feel good about seeing them go solidly to the Republicans.

The Democrats on the other hand spent the whole cycle playing defense on their own turf in places like California, Connecticut and West Virginia (though Obama will never win there). Washington is still to close to call.

The only swing type states they held on to were Nevada and now it seems Colorado.

For the Democrats to crow that they cruised in places like New York, Vermont and Delaware...well, so what? It's only news if they don't.

So yeah, where Democrats are easy winners all the time, every time, they won (except Illinois). Where both parties have to battle every cycle...the Republicans swept the table. That's the referendum on Obama and he lost.

UPDATE [geoff]: Bennet (D) is up by 7500 over Buck (R) in the CO Senate race with almost 90% of precincts reporting.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:55 AM

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